“The aim of the conference was to bring together all the key players to explore how Turkey’s government and businesses can benefit by more effectively promoting and protecting intellectual property,” said Rifat Hisarcıklıoglu, President of ICC Turkey. “It was very important that Hayati Yazıcı, Minister of Customs and Trade, participated in these important meetings. This is a clear sign that the Turkish government is committed at the highest levels to improving IP protection.”
Francis Ricciardone, US Ambassador to Turkey, also addressed the conference participants.
“As Turkey strives to become a top 10 economy by 2023, a world class intellectual property rights regime should be a powerful tool in Turkey’s drive for economic growth,” he said. “World class IPR protection not only encourages local companies to harness that valuable imagination, but it is also directly linked to foreign direct investment. The recommendations that BASCAP has outlined in its report will help Turkey to attract and keep that investment.”
The conference featured high-level speakers from both government and business, including BASCAP member companies Universal Music, Proctor & Gamble, Pfizer, Daimler and Hewlett Packard.
“This is an excellent opportunity for us to meet with Turkish government officials,” said David Benjamin, Senior Vice President, Universal Music and co-chair of the BASCAP Steering Committee. “Enhancing Turkey’s IP protection system and strengthening enforcement against counterfeiting and piracy are key elements for Turkey’s economic growth and development.”
The conference introduced two new ICC/BASCAP reports:
• An economic report on the impacts of IP theft on the Turkish economy
• A white paper on policy recommendations designed to highlight areas that could improve
Turkey’s IP enforcement regime
The economic report describes the impact of counterfeiting on the Turkish economy, as well as the risks associated with this crime. The report reveals that the total economic value of counterfeiting and piracy in Turkey is as much as US$10.6 billion every year, more than 1% of Turkish GDP.
“This deprives the Turkish government of significant revenues for vital public services and dislocates thousands of legitimate jobs,” Mr Benjamin said. The analysis suggests that counterfeiting and piracy causes the Turkish government to lose more than US$ 2.4 billion due to a combination of lower tax revenues and higher welfare spending. In addition, the report suggests that at least 135,000 jobs have been destroyed by counterfeiting and piracy. IP theft has serious negative implications that affect not only the country’s economic growth but also its citizens’ health and safety, Mr Benjamin said.
“Counterfeiting is not only a law enforcement issue, but is also a core problem that is relevant for economic policy-makers,” said Guven Sak, Managing Director of TEPAV. “Developing and then protecting our intellectual property will be at the heart of Turkey’s ability to compete on the world economic stage.”
The second report outlines a comprehensive set of policy recommendations that can substantially improve Turkey’s IP protection and enforcement regime.
“This white paper is an important instrument in developing a robust IP environment and rendering Turkey an innovation leader,” said Jeffrey Hardy, Director of ICC BASCAP. “The time is right for Turkey to put an even stronger emphasis on addressing counterfeiting because of the contributions IP can make to economic growth and job creation.”
Stopping IP theft can go a long way to prevent jobs and market value to be drained from Turkey’s economy.
“Political will is critical to tackling counterfeiting. This requires creating the conditions for high level policy coordination among different departments in the government, including the ministries of Culture and Tourism, Justice, Health, the Interior, Economy, Customs and Trade, as well as institutions such as the Turkish Patent Institute and the Scientific and Technical Research Council of Turkey (TUBITAK),” said Mr Sak.
“In the long run, we hope that these policy suggestions create a roadmap for business to work with government on a daily basis,” said Mr Hardy. “We can use these policy and legislative guidelines to structure a work plan going forward. If we can accomplish these measures, then Turkey will be on a path to realize the significant economic stimulus provided by IP.”